The 57-year-old actor -- best known for playing Sondra Huxtable's doctor husband Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show -- appeared on Good Morning America on Tuesday, and talked about the attention he received after being shamed for having a job at a grocery store. After the photos went viral, Owens received messages of support from both fans and fellow actors, including Terry Crews, who tweeted, "I swept floors AFTER the @NFL. If need be, I’d do it again. Good honest work is nothing to be ashamed of."
During his GMA interview, Owens said he worked at the grocery story for 15 months, but has since quit due to the attention following the report. He said he was initially "devastated" after the article was published, though quickly received tons of love on social media.
“The period of devastation was so short because so shortly after that, the responses, my wife and I started to read these responses from literally all over the world ... fortunately the shame part didn’t last very long,” he said. “It’s amazing.”
“It’s really overwhelming, in a good way. I kind of feel like that character in that Woody Allen movie that wakes up one morning and he’s a celebrity all of a sudden, and has no idea where it came from," he continued, seemingly referring to Allen's 2012 film, To Rome With Love. "It came out of nowhere. I really want to thank everybody out there … for the incredible support, the amazing support and positivity that they’ve shown for me. It’s quite astounding. It's very encouraging.”
FULL INTERVIEW: @GMA EXCLUSIVE -- "There's no job better than another...every job is worthwhile..." Actor Geoffrey Owens speaks out, responding to job shaming and backlash after a photo of him working at a grocery store was posted online: https://t.co/0wZJnpowI9pic.twitter.com/aNiG5fV2yf
Owens said he hopes that others learn a lesson about what type of jobs are valued over others. During the interview, Owens proudly wore his Trader Joe's name tag.
"I had been teaching, acting, directing for 30-plus years, but it got to the point where, you know, it didn't add up enough," he explained, adding that he wanted a job that allowed him to still be involved the entertainment industry. "You have to do what you have to do."
“I hope that this period that we’re in now, where we have a heightened sensitivity about that, and a reevaluation of what it means to work and the idea that some jobs are better than others -- that’s actually not true,” he noted. “There is no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper. But actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.”
He also insisted that he's doing perfectly fine.
“No one should feel sorry for me,” he stressed. “I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career. I’ve had a career that most actors would die for. So no one has to feel sorry for me. I’m doing fine!”
“I wouldn’t mind getting auditions … but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with someone giving me a job because this happened,” he added. “I want to get a job because I’m the right person for that job.”
Talking to ET on Tuesday, Owens opened up about the offer.
"That was kind of cool," Owens tells ET about the big opportunity. "I mean, that kind of sounded like he was saying, 'Come work with me.' I'm so, like, skeptical. Like, really? Are you actually saying come work with me? Because we've never worked together before. So, that's a very, very generous thing for him to say. And we'll see what happens with that. But, that's encouraging."